With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Sunday 27 May 2012

STUKA SQUADRON, Dark Forest, Agincourt @Scruffy Murphys 25/5/12

When you walk into Scruffy Murphy’s and there are more Manowar t-shirts than any other band you do realise that it’s a Trad Metal night. But at three bands for three quid there is no arguing with the value for money.

Agincourt are the first of the triumvirate and Brummie stalwarts hit all right notes. Kicking off with the song they are named after they are clearly influenced by Iron Maiden and are all twin guitar attack and songs about war. The song “Edge of Paradise” is a much slower piece of light to their shade complete with some fine soloing to boot.

Black Country Power Metallers Dark Forest are up next. Definitely not to be confused with the Canadian Melodic Death Metal band of the same name, these guys have listened to a lot of Manowar records. Like Agincourt they have been knocking around for quite a while and they are a tight little proposition.

Their 40-minute set is an excellent affair. The likes of “Light Years On,” “The Battle of Badden Hill” and “The Green Knight” are mini epics, full of power metal histrionics and pompousness, and are almost the perfect band for this type of bill.

When the headliners were setting their gear up they look like a normal metal band. Five fellas in jeans and t-shirts. RTM was sat thinking, “well this isn’t the band that I’d read about, prompting me to seek out the fine “Tales of The Ost album.” I’d been promised costumes and blood.

Then five minutes later the normal metal blokes have gone to be replaced by Vampires Duke Fang Begley , Gravedigger Cox, Lord Pyre. Baron von Hammerstein ,  and Doktor Suicide (he’s a new Squadroneer for this tour.) Yes, Squadron are one of those bands with a stupid back-story.

You can take that in two ways. One; you can roll your eyes and think its all ridiculous, or two; you can enjoy the nonsense of it. Neither of these approaches would matter if the songs were poor, but that is not the case here. In fact, as soon as they kick off with the title track from their debut record you can’t help but marvel at their quality.

Of course tracks like “On The Volga Bridge” and “We Drink Blood” are ludicrous. And of course there’s no need for Fang to bite the neck of Von Hammerstein and then bite the neck of a lady in the crowd, but these are fine musicians to go along with the bombast – and it never did Slipknot or Kiss any harm did it?

Squadron unveil s new song in the shape of “Desert Fox” which Fang tells us is going to appear on their next album and which hints at more of the same but what is wrong with that?

Even in a venue the size of this the accent on showmanship means they have to play an encore and take a full band bow to complete things. Here is a band with lofty ambitions and great songs, so who is to say they might not succeed?

Tremendous fun.

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